What is the best age to start school?

26 Jun 2018


The first article written a few weeks ago looked at one side of the argument on the starting age for school but in doing so did not balance other views or opinions. The second article gives a very different answer. How can parents make a good decision about the right age to start school?

Seldom when discussing the starting age for school, is there a discussion on what a Kindergarten learning environment should and does look like. If for example, the school promotes a balance of play based, sensory process learning along with a content focus then children will find success. In contrast, holding a child back in Pre-School just for another year of play based learning when they are developmentally ready for school, will not benefit the child. Trying to find a good balance and transition between Pre-School and Kindergarten is key and schools and many parents know this.

Kindergarten students need a very thorough transition from play based learning in Pre-School to a more structured literacy and numeracy learning approach. In an inquiry learning kindergarten classroom children are still immersed in varied and creative play based learning activities. This inspires children to develop their curiosity and thirst for knowledge. A kindergarten room, transitions in and out of the formal learning space and opportunities for play all form part of the kindergarten day. Sensory play is particularly important as it enhances a child's learning through hands on activities that stimulate the child's development of sensory processing. This forms a foundation of learning.

We have always advocated that a child's readiness for school is best gauged by their desire to go to school and their ability to interact with other children. Children develop at different rates and a conversation with the Head of Primary is a good place to start. Discuss the learning framework within the Kindergarten classroom. Age at the start of Kindergarten is not a determiner of success - there are more important factors to consider.